The PhD examination process can be a mysterious process for many. In some countries, the candidate has to publicly give a lecture on the thesis and defend the thesis and the defence is supervised by an examination committee. Since I recently filled out submission forms, I will give a brief dummy’s outline of a PhD examination process at least for UK PhDs.
The requirement is to write a publishable piece of research in the format given by the university and the department. The thesis is supervised by the candidate’s supervisor and advisor.
Whereas the supervisor gives guidance to the candidate, the adviser overviews any other issues which may creep up during a PhD. This could well be problems between the supervisor and the candidate. Although the supervisor supports the candidate during the PhD, he/she does not give the final decision on the thesis.
The supervisor suggests one internal examiner and one external examiner to assess the thesis. The external examiner is supposed to be an expert in the research area of the candidate. The examiners are responsible for judging the thesis after reading the thesis and taking a viva from the candidate. The viva is not only to ascertain the PhD work but also to confirm the maturity of the candidate within the research field.
The examiner may give the following judgments: pass without changes, pass after minor changes, pass after major changes, request for resubmission or a lower degree such as an MPhil. Pass without changes or pass without changes should be cause of celebration but the other results are certainly not! I hope this helped summarize the PhD examination process.